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While millennials are blamed for “killing everything” a recent Neilsen study found that we’re also pretty cheesy. According to the study, millennials (people aged 18 to 34) make up a whopping 36 percent of holiday music fans. That number is pretty staggering considering the older generations (55+) only make up 25 percent of holiday music.
It also comes at a shock when you think about last years music. The top 10 holiday songs that were being played on the radio only had two artists that made songs after 1970. Those were Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo.”
But this year, radio stations and even malls have caught onto this trend though. It might be hard to notice it now, but Christmas music was playing a bit earlier than usual. In fact, radio stations have been doing this earlier and earlier every year. It’s to the point that you’ll hear the music ringing by the middle of November.
Even streaming services such as Spotify have noticed trends. Classic Christmas music and post-2010 offerings account for the most airplay, comped to sales numbers. This means people are buying new releases, but choosing to primarily listen to older stuff around this time.
But that doesn’t really answer why we millennials are obsessed with music. Why are companies so hell-bent on pushing Christmas music this early? There are many theories why that is.
First off is nostalgia. We’ve all grown up seeing television to fashion and from that there’s a powerful urge from us to rehash old obsessions.
Another angle to consider is the political hellscape we are in as well. Currently, there is some kind of subliminal backlash to the constant consumption of media. That makes sense since so many of us millennials are on the internet. If we’re constantly bombarded and paying attention to content, perhaps we could use a break?
When we look at it from this angle it makes sense. Millennials are left with a lot of tough decisions. In Malcolm Harris’s book Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials he famously said this:
“Either we continue the trends we’ve been given and enact the bad future, or we refuse it and cut the knot of trend lines that define our collectivity.”
And he’s right. But, Christmas music plays a role in this because so much of the music goes back to a world with not as much despair. It’s momentary, of course, but listening to “Blue Christmas” or even “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” can bring this generation another emotion. It’s stronger than the despair after realizing just how broken America is right now.
But it also might be a lot deeper than that considering some of the other songs that are played. Take “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which by now is panned out as a song of a man’s poor understanding of consent. As a generation, we’ve learned to let that go or even remix it by making an entirely new song. There’s even a new cover of “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” from DMX to add to the plethora of music we have.
Why we like Christmas music is simple. In a way, shows to the world what we value. Sure, we’re worried, anxious for the future. However, we can all agree on Christmas music, and change as a generation. That’s what makes us special.